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Irvine Blog - Posts from Local Experts

Posts for January 2014

Off Center Festival Tilts OC Off Axis

Posted by: Terry Winkler
Posted on: Saturday, Jan 25, 2014

It's here! The Off Center Festival is in full swing at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts, presenting fresh works for adventurous audiences. This isn't the Orange County your grandma blogs about. Check out all the contemporary theater and music happening now through February 2, 2014.

  Segerstrom Off Center Festival

The 2014 Off Center Festival events include:

Sekou Sundiata's blessing the boats - the remix
January 23, 24, 25 & 26 at 8:00 p.m. - Founders Hall
A re-imagining of poet and performance artist Sekou Sundiata's acclaimed solo theater work about his emotional and profound struggle with kidney failure becomes an inspiring story of hope, compassion and wonder told through language, music and visual projections.

POP: Party on the Plaza

January 24 at 6:00 p.m. - Arts Plaza
A free concert to kick-off the festival, featuring Little Willie G. - the original voice of Thee Midniters, La Santa Cecilia and Culture Clash.

Die Roten Punkte: Super Musician
January 24 & 25 at 8:30 p.m. - Samueli Theater
Berlin's prince and princess of indie rock are a lipstick-smeared, tantrum-loving, sonic collision between B52s, Kraftwerk and early Ramones.

Edgar Oliver: Helen and Edgar

January 24, 25 & 26 at 7:30pm - Studio Performance Space
Playwright, poet and performer Edgar Oliver alternately tickles and terrifies in this real-life Southern Gothic tale, the utterly absorbing and unexpectedly moving account of his childhood in a decaying Savannah mansion ruled by an eccentric artist mother.

Culture Clash: Keep Culture and Clash On
January 30, 31 & February 1 at 8:00 p.m., February 2 at 3:00 p.m - Founders Hall
The nation's most prominent Chicano-Latino performance troupe premieres a new work celebrating 30 years of outrageous satire.

Rinde Eckert : Becoming ...Unusual: The Education of an Eclectic

January 31 & February 1 at 8:30 p.m. - Samueli Theater
With a virtuosic command of gesture and language Rinde Eckert has been at the forefront of contemporary performance art since the early 1980s, creating evocative and haunting pieces that have pushed at the edges of recognized theatrical form.

Phil Soltanoff: LA Party

January 29, 30 & 31 at 7:30 p.m. - Studio Performance Space
A fanatical vegan slides off the wagon one night, falling head-first into a wild LA bender. The story collides with live video in which six performers produce a compelling composite human being. A charming soup-çon from the celebrated Phil Soltanoff whose acclaimed works are a playful melding of theatre, visual art, dance and new cirque.

Gilbert Castellanos and The New Latin Jazz Quintet

February 1 at 9:30 p.m - Founders Hall
Southern California trumpet virtuoso Castellanos leads his acclaimed quintet in a concert to close the 2014 Off Center Festival in swinging style.

Off Center Lounge

January 23 - 26 and January 31 - February 2 - Leatherby's Cafe Rouge
The Off Center Festival isn't over when the curtain goes down! After the performances, audiences can join the artists to mix and mingle in Leatherby's Cafe Rouge.


About the sponsor:
Segerstrom Center for the Arts exists to present a wide variety of the most significant national and international productions of music, dance and theater to the people of Southern California. They believe that experiencing the best in the performing arts adds meaningfully to the quality of life in the community and are committed to providing an unsurpassed attendance experience. In conjunction with its artistic mission, Segerstrom Center is also entrusted with stewardship of its world class facilities which provide the performance base for its resident companies.

Irvine Ranch Celebrates 150 Years

Posted by: Ellen Bell
Posted on: Friday, Jan 24, 2014

Irvine Ranch Sesquicentennial: A Look Back 150 Years

On December 7th, 1864, James Irvine and his partners purchased the land that would later become the Irvine Ranch. In 2014, 150 years later, Irvine is one of the largest in cities in California with a population of more than 230,000 residents. To mark the sesquicentennial of James Irvine's historic purchase, Destination Irvine will feature articles that depict life on the Irvine Ranch at its beginning. 

Irvine Ranch at 150

Looking for Gold

James Irvine did not set out to be a landowner.

When he landed in San Francisco in August of 1849, he was seeking fortune in the gold mines of California.

The 22 year-old native of Ireland was not a rich man when he arrived. Within a decade, the industrious Irvine had become very wealthy man indeed.

Instead of finding riches in the mines, James Irvine built a successful grocery business, selling supplies to the miners.  He invested the profits into income producing real estate in the boom town of San Francisco. 

Sheep Raising Venture

In 1853, he joined Benjamin Flint and brothers Thomas and Llewellyn Bixby in a sheep raising venture in Monterey County. Wool had become a valuable commodity since the Civil War had interrupted the cotton industry. Before long, the partners were looking for more sheep grazing land further south. 

Irvine Ranch at 150

Decline of the Ranchos 

Conditions in the Santa Ana Valley were ripe for Flint, Bixby and Company.

The Great Drought of 1862-1864 had wiped out the local cattle, leaving rancheros like Don Jose Sepulveda destitute and desperate for cash.

When California became part of the United States, the Californios were forced to pay high legal costs in order to defend their land claims.

As a result, many of the local landowners were forced to sell their properties. Flint, Bixby and their silent partner James Irvine saw an opportunity. 

 Irvine Buys Land 

On December 7, 1864, Sepulveda sold the 48,803 acre Rancho San Joaquin for $18,000 to settle his debts.  James Irvine was the majority owner and bought one-half of the ranch. The Bixby brothers each bought three-twentieths, and Benjamin Flint purchased the remaining four-twentieths. 

Irvine Ranch at 150 

Two years later, the partners purchased 47,226 acres of the Rancho Lomas de Santiago as well as a 3,800 acre portion of the Rancho Santiago de Santa Ana. These purchases, combined with the Ranch San Joaquin, brought the Flint, Bixby and Company land holdings in southern California to 108,000 acres, or 168 square miles that stretched from the Santa Ana mountains to the ocean. 

The partners paid about $41,000 for all the land, or approximately 38 cents per acre. A few adjoining tracts of land were added later, increasing the total to 125,000 acres.

These original land purchases laid the foundation for the Irvine Ranch and for the City of Irvine that would follow. 

Ellen Bell is the author of the book "Irvine: Images of America" and is a member of the Irvine Historical Society. She can be reached at

Filed In: Dining, Events

Irvine Restaurant Week 2014: Graduating from the Kids' Menu

Posted by: Terry Winkler
Posted on: Monday, Jan 13, 2014

  Restaurant Week header

There comes a time when the little kids menu just won't satisfy a growing boy's appetite so my son and I set off to sample some of the yummiest foods in Irvine being featured at this year's Irvine Restaurant Week. Our restaurant run consisted of three of Irvine's top dining destinations:  The Melting Pot at Jamboree and Dupont, McCormick and Schmick's on Main & Gillette, and Wood Ranch BBQ & Grill at the Irvine Spectrum.  A mom must sacrifice for her children, yes?

The Melting Pot

The Melting Pot was the perfect start for our culinary campaign.  Picture a boy in charge of his own dining destiny:  armed with skewers, heat and the finest foods a boy could dunk in melted cheese.  He had a blast experiencing the Irvine Classic prix fixe menu, which started with a cheese fondue, where he could choose from Cheddar, Swiss, Fiesta Cheddar, Wisconsin Trio or a Spinach Artichoke heated dip.  Dipping apples, veggies and breads in gooey melted cheese? Yes, please!



Entrée course includes all of the following:  Teriyaki Sirloin, Chicken Breast, Citrus Pork, White Shrimp and Potstickers. Alex took his cooking role very seriously, and loved the fondue experience. 

 The Irvine Deluxe Menu includes a glass of wine with the Entrée including Lobster tail, Filet Mignon, Herb Chicken, White Shrimp, Fig & Gorgonzola Sacchetti.  I did give my son a sample of my lobster tail.  Yes, he's now lobster lover.   

 The dessert choices:  Pure Chocolate, Flaming Turtle, Yin & Yang, Smores, Cookies n Cream, Bananas, The Original. All are delectable. We chose the Yin & Yang, a mix of dark and white chocolates with bananas, strawberries, marshmallows for dipping.  Hot melted chocolate heaven.

The Melting Pot

2646 Dupont Dr

Irvine, CA 92612

(949) 955-3242

 DINNER Prix Fixe Menu

 McCormick & Schmicks

Our next dining experience was at McCormick & Schmicks, which at first glance is a fancy steak and seafood restaurant, but the mission of this establishment is to keep things straight-forward & simple where guests feel comfortable & relaxed...and we were!  Our waiter, Brad, made the evening so much fun. Chef Masa came out to share his creations and you've got to go try these works of food art.  The Shrimp Kisses seduced me, the Fried Mac & Cheese Balls with Tomato Chutney were a home run with the boys and the Pasta Bolognese was amazing! You must try these and all the other fare.  You'll thank me.


 L to R: Grilled Shrimp Kisses;  Shrimp Kisses, Mac & Cheese, Wedge Salad, Potato Leek Soup; Grilled Shrimp, Spinach and Polenta; Pasta Bolognese

 McCormick & Schmick's Seafood & Steaks
2000 Main Street
Irvine, CA 92614

LUNCH prix fixe menu

DINNER prix fixe menu


Wood Ranch BBQ & Grill

We went to Wood Ranch on a Saturday afternoon and it's the perfect place to relax after a movie or shopping.  It's a casual place with great food. We kicked back and watched a little football playing in the bar and rock n roll on the sound system while sampling sliders and salads.  Simply spectacular.


 Salads L to R:  Quinoa, Natalie's, Kale, House


 Sliders L to R:  Pulled Pork, Tri Tip, Brisket, Cheeseburgers


Wood Ranch Irvine
57 Fortune Drive, Suite 230
Irvine, CA 92618

LUNCH prix fixe menu


Here's the complete list of all 37 participating restaurants.  Click and scroll down to find your dining destiny. Happy dining in Irvine!

Irvine Restaurant Week 2014: Fabulous Family-Friendly Dining

Posted by: Sharlene Earnshaw
Posted on: Friday, Jan 10, 2014

Foodies and deal lovers unite! Irvine's annual Restaurant Week is January 10-16 and the dining options are better than ever. Irvine is a family-focused community so it is no wonder that there are some great family-friendly dining options to enjoy around town.  Once a year, I have the difficult challenge of sampling food around town to bring you some of the best family-friendly dining that Irvine Restaurant Week has to offer. Whether you are looking to grab and go something great, chomp down on an indulgent burger, or enjoy a chic yet casual night out with kids in tow, I have you covered!

Stonefire Grill

3966 Barranca Pkwy
Irvine, CA
(949) 777-1177

Stonefire outside 

Stonefire Grill is one of those places made for busy families.  Diners order at the counter and then have the option of either enjoying their meal inside the restaurant, while enjoying the beautiful Irvine weather out on the patio, or taking it to go. The cuisine is American style with a focus on grilled meats, fresh salads, and pizzas.  The focus on simple food and fresh ingredients is definitely a winning combination.  Especially of interest to families are the family meals which serve four or more people and include a meat (chicken, tri tip, ribs, or combo of two), salad (four to choose from), and twelve breadsticks starting at $24.99. There is also a large kids menu available with varied options such as PB&J pizza, pasta, and a kid-sized order of ribs. All come with a choice of side, including the Stonefire Grill's famous breadsticks.


I had the opportunity to sample a couple of the lunch specials being featured during  Irvine Restaurant Week and have no doubt that my family will be coming back for more.  One of the available specials is the 4oz tri tip and petite chicken breast combo which includes a breadstick and side for just $7.99. I was impressed with the portion size as well as the mesquite bbq sauce which flavored the meat without overpowering it.

Stonefire food

Another option on the Irvine Restaurant Week menu is the petite salad which is served with a breadstick for $6.79. There are five salad options: BBQ chopped, Cobb, Spinach, Chicken Caesar, and Asian. There is nothing petite about the serving size, this is definitely an entree-sized salad. I sampled the BBQ chopped salad which feature the same mesquite bbq chicken that I loved from the grill along with black beans, roasted corn, tortilla strips, cilantro, jack cheese, and fresh greens and a creamy buttermilk ranch dressing. Delish!

Check out Stonefire Grill's full Irvine Restaurant Week menu.

Cucina Enoteca

31 Fortune Dr
Irvine, CA 92618
(949) 861-2222

Cucina patio

Who says you can't enjoy a date night worthy meal as a family? Cucina Enoteca, located inside the Irvine Spectrum, is casual yet chic, sophisticated yet eclectic, and a divine merge of Italian food with Californian influences.  The vast wine selection and house-infused liquors make it a great spot to enjoy a drink before heading to the movie theater just steps away but when I am dining with my family and friends it is the inviting patio and delicious dishes which always lure me to linger longer. The childrens menu has both pizza and pasta options, served with a beverage and ever important scoop of ice cream for dessert.

I was able to sample all sorts of incredible offerings from the Restaurant Week dinner menu. This three course menu features either pizza ($30) or pasta/entree ($35) alongside your choice of soup or salad as well as dessert. 

squash blossoms

Start your meal off with one of Cucina Enoteca's appetizers or salads. I love the vasis which are mini mason jars filled with spreads such as olive tapenade and citrus artichoke hearts and served alongside Tuscan toast as well as the delicate crunch of the stuffed squash blossoms which are filled with a herb ricotta and served with a purple basil pesto and cured lemon aoli.


The pizza has a blistered Neopolitan crust and can be topped with everything from pear and gorgonzola to the classic margherita ingredients: San Marzano tomatoes, basil, and house made mozzarella.

shrimp pasta

I sampled two of the pastas and fell in love with both. I am a big fan of two things, seafood and spicy, so it is no wonder that I love the spicy shrimp puttanesca angel hair pasta. The light yet spicy tomato-based sauce is dotted with green olives and capers and topped with jumbo shrimp. Yes, it is as good as it looks.

short rib

The short rib pappardelle is comforting yet sophisticated and has now my become my new favorite dish at Cucina Enoteca. The rich cremini mushrooms alongside diced carrots complimented the short rib perfectly.


For dessert, I indulged in the zeppole; Italian style donut holes filled with a heavenly nutella creme and served with a chocolate banana sauce for dipping. The crisp, sugary yet light  exterior perfectly complimented the warm, gooey and oh so sweet interior. Trust me, you aren't going to want to share.

Cucina Enoteca also has special two-course lunch menu offerings available for restaurant week.

View all of your lunch and dinner options on the Irvine Restaurant Week website.

Slater's 50/50

24356 Swartz Dr
Lake Forest, CA
(949) 460-9314


Slater's 50/50 takes the classic hamburger and elevates it to a whole new level in the most indulgent ways imaginable. The atmosphere is 100% casual and the menu is mostly made up with burgers, appetizers, gourmet mac and cheeses, salads, and a few specialties thrown in for good measure. The kids menu allows kids to build their own sliders or opt for chicken fingers. Both choices come with a drink and a side.

Their signature patty is made up of 50% ground beef and 50% ground bacon (yes, you read that right and yes, it is as good as it sounds), serving as the basis for their signature burger which includes a sunny side up egg, avocado mash, pepper jack cheese, and chipotle adobo mayo on a white brioche bun. But that is just the beginning of the burger fun. You can design your own burger using a menu which could result in dozens of winning combinations, choose one of the extravagant burgers (peanut butter and jellousy burger anyone?) from the menu or go with one of the monthly specials. During my visit I opted to go with the monthly special, a Sriracha burger with a 50/50 patty, pepper jack cheese, grill onions, Sriracha sautéed mushrooms, Sriracha glazed bacon, Sriracha garlic cole slaw, Sriracha garlic cole slaw, and yes, a Sriracha mayo. It was one of the best (and messiest) burgers I have ever had in my life.

Sriracha burger

In celebration of Irvine Restaurant Week, the chef at Slater's has come up with an over the top menu with new burger creations never seen at Slater's before such as the turducken burger- a 50% ground turkey and 50% ground chicken patty, bacon infused country gravy, dried cranberries, and sunny side up duck egg on a honey wheat bun- and the coffee rub burger topped with its bacon cheddar cheese, grilled kale, and fresh corn hush puppies. Appetizers are equally over the top and come in the form of chicken fried bacon, Philly cheese steak poutine, Dr. Pepper wings and more. Guest can select an appetizer, entree, milkshake, and beverage all for just $15! Expect to take a doggy bag home because portions are large and you will most definitely want to savor every bite.

Check out the entire Slater's 50/50 Restaurant Week menu.

Disclosure: I received complimentary meals at the above restaurants in order to taste the food and write about the Restaurant Week offerings. All opinions are my own.

Filed In: Dining

Irvine Restaurant Week 2014: Dinner and Drinks

Posted by: Ellen Bell
Posted on: Wednesday, Jan 08, 2014

Irvine Restaurant  Week

My assignment: Seek and find the best spots for dinner and drinks in Irvine.

It's a tough job I know, but someone has to do it.  

Fortunately, Irvine has three excellent dining destinations that add their own twist to the typical food and beverage combination.

The Winery Restaurant and Wine Bar at the District, Paul Martin's American Grill at The Spectrum and Andrei's Conscious Cuisine and Cocktails near Jamboree Center all enhance their spectacular food with just the right glass of wine or a creative mixologist concoction. Irvine Restaurant Week, Friday January 10 through Thursday January 16, is the perfect time to sip and savor selections from their special prix fixe menus.

The Winery Restaurant and Wine BarIrvine Restaurant Week

My quest  for dinner and drinks perfection began at The Winery Restaurant and Wine Bar, since a meal in its cozy and comfortable dining room is like enjoying a visit to the heart of Napa Valley.

The interior is as rich as a hearty cabernet, and its cellar holds over 6,500 bottles of wine. There are also 34 different wines by the glass available for those who want to do a little wine tasting. Chef Yvon Goetz has created a menu of California contemporary entrees that are inspired by the wines that accompany them.

I sampled my way through the special prix fixe menu,  beginning with the delightfully complex Winery House Salad that featured fruits and walnuts and finished with the surprising kick of dijon mustard vinaigrette. Then came a mouth watering Zinfandel braised Angus Beef Shortrib served on a bed of carrot-infused pearl couscous and topped with prosciutto-wrapped asparagus.  I ended my wine country fantasy with a creme brulee and fresh chocolate cookie that complemented my final sip of Pinot Noir. 

Irvine Restaurant Week

Did you know....

The Winery Restaurant and Wine Bar's popular Crush Hour happens all day on Sundays, from 4:30 -10pm. Guests can sample wines, try appetizer specials and enjoy live jazz music in the bar.  

Special Lunch Menu

Special Dinner Menu

Irvine Restaurant Week
The Winery Restaurant and Wine Bar 
2647 Park Avenue
Tustin, CA 92782


 The Winery Restaurant and Wine Bar


Paul Martin's American GrillIrvine Restaurant Week

The alluring decor of Paul Martin's American Grill may fool you into believing that this popular Irvine restaurant is just another pretty face. It's good looks may be stellar,  but the food is the star of the show. 

Famed restauranteur Paul Fleming opened this farm-to-table eatery in 2011, bringing seasonal and delicious to the Irvine Spectrum. The Ingredient is King at Paul Martin's, where  the scratch kitchen produces everything from fresh butter and daily made pastries to homemade ice creams.

It's also the perfect spot to satisfy my search for dinner and drinks. Paul Martin's mixologists offer cocktails also made from scratch, like Bistro Lemonade, with house-infused Meyer lemon vodka and fresh basil or Raspberry Martinis with essence of raspberry infused vodka. 

The Irvine Restaurant Week Prix Fix Menu offers a variety of Paul Martin's dinner selections to sample. My meal started beautifully with a bowl of Wild Mushroom Soup; a creamy collection of crimini and porcini mushrooms topped with a medley of wild mushrooms and green onion oil. Next up was the Pitman Family Farms "Brick Chicken" that was flattened and cooked between two cast iron skillets,  creating a dish that was both crispy and tender at the same time. I finished with a slice of decadent Devil's Food Cake with amarena cherries on the side. It was made from scratch, naturally.

Irvine Restaurant Week

Did you know....

On Monday nights, Paul Martin's American Grill offers Wine Dinners for $49. The special includes a two course meal for two and a bottle from a list of 20 selections to share.

The popular Taste of Paul Martin's happy hour offers signature appetizers and specialty cocktails from 3-7pm daily. 

Three Course Dinner Menu for $30 
Irvine Restaurant Week
      Paul Martin's American Grill      
      31 Fortune Drive #302
      Irvine, CA 92618

      Facebook: Paul Martin's American Grill


Andrei's Conscious Cuisine and CocktailsIrvine Restaurant Week

No list of Irvine restaurants offering dinner and drinks would be complete without Andrei's Conscious Cuisine and Cocktails. The "Conscious" part of the name comes from the belief that serving food and drinks is not enough. The Olenicoff Family operates Andrei's consciously by choosing the best local and seasonal ingredients as well as intentionally  by giving back to the community. The restaurant operates as a non-profit organization and all profits are donated to the Andrei Foundation which supports local and global charities. 

I spent a lovely afternoon at Andrei's tasting treats from the Irvine Restaurant Week Menus. First there was the fresh Beet Salad with a collection of roasted beets, blood orange slices and goat cheese arranged on the plate in an explosion of color. Next was the savory Pumpkin Ravioli with house made pasta and a delicate black garlic cream sauce. Finally, I marvelled at Andrei's Signature Carrot Cake topped with walnut brittle that looked more like a piece of stained glass art than a dessert.

At Andrei's, cocktails share equal billing with the cuisine.  I tried two drinks, both created by restaurant owner Natalie Olenicoff. The Blackberry Cooler featured Pearl Red Berry Vodka, blackberries and fresh basil leaves. The Red Square cocktail combines three of Olenicoff's favorite drinks; pomegranate juice, red wine, and vodka, finished with a Cinnamon-Sugar rim. 

Irvine Restaurant Week 

Did you know....

Andrei's will soon start construction on a new patio dining area? The patio is expected to be completed and open in the Summer of 2014; just in time for  dinner and drinks al fresco!

2 Course Lunch Menu for $20
3 Course Dinner Menu for $30
Irvine Restaurant Week
 Andrei's Conscious Cuisine and Cocktails
2607 Main Street
Irvine, CA 92614

Facebook:                   Andrei's 

Irvine Restaurant Week is the perfect time to try a new restaurant in your own backyard or to revisit an old favorite. To see a listing of all participating restaurants click 



Irvine Restaurant Week 2014: HOTEL Restaurants

Posted by: Amanda Nguyen
Posted on: Wednesday, Jan 01, 2014

I usually don't think of visiting local hotels since there's no need for me to seek lodging, but what about dining at the hotel restaurants? I visited three Irvine hotel restaurants; the Irvine Marriott Hotel's Floe Lounge, the Double Tree by Hilton's 90 Pacifica, and the Hilton's Aura Bar & Grill; and was delighted at each dining location's warm and inviting to calm and cool atmospheres; excellent service; as well as the divine culinary creations which will be featured on prix fixe $40 and under menus during Irvine Restaurant Week from January 10-16th (yes, it starts at the end of the week)! 

Floe Lounge at the Irvine Marriott Hotel floeloungedining

The Irvine Marriott Hotel recently remodeled and soft opened with a new concept dining experience. Known as the 'Great Room' to easily introduce guests to the Floe Lounge but keep them connected to the hotel, dining guests can dine casually, formally, or lounge with a drink and small bites all in the same area.  The welcoming ambiance and decor mixes an upscale, modern lounge with a vibrant beach resort. What I loved about Floe was not only the posh, yet laid-back coastal vibe, but the innovative ways the food was presented (the lunch menu's Abuela soup is poured onto roasted corn and poblano right in front of you) as well as the interesting flavors used, lent to a very delightful experience! Thank you Chef Adrian, Lorenzo (Director of Restaurant Operations) and the staff that made my dining experience unique and enjoyable!

floe collage

Lunch dishes shown above (left to right): 

Abuela (Grandma) Tere's Roasted Corn & Poblano Soup

Fiscalini Cheddar Grilled Cheese

Fig Flatbread

Bread Pudding Churros

Guests choose 1 Starter Soup, 1 Entree, and enjoy the Bread Pudding Churros for dessert (one of my favorite dessert dishes that I have EVER tasted; perfect amount of sweetness, doughy texture, and crunch!)

LUNCH MENU $15 Per Person


Dinner dishes shown above (left to right):  

Wildflower Honey Glazed Salmon

Harris Ranch Skirt Steak


All Dishes previously listed shown with the Bibb Lettuce & Balsamic Vinaigrette Salad (with sun dried cherries, spiced pecans, feta cheese)

The flavors and exciting twists on traditional dishes will be a thrill for your taste palate to encounter. In particular, the house chimichurri that topped the Harris Ranch Skirt Steak blended together an amazing array of spicy, salty, sweet, and citrus flavors. 

Guests  choose 1 Starter Soup or Salad, 1 Entree, and enjoy a 'beachy' take on S'mores for dessert.

DINNER MENU $30 Per Person

Floe Lounge at the Irvine Marriott Hotel

18000 Von Karman Ave, Irvine, California 92612-1004 
Phone: 1-949-553-0100  

Parking: Self  Parking Lot (by ticket dispenser) or Valet with 3-hour Free Parking Validation from Floe Lounge

Did you know that Floe Lounge also hosts  a "Relaxed Hour" where all of the signature drinks and quick bites are 1/2 off, Monday-Friday from 5-6pm (and usually with live music too)!

Facebook:             Irvine Marriott                  Floe Lounge


90 Pacifica at the DoubleTree by Hilton Irvine Spectrum90pacificainteror

Executive Chef Shannon Olvera started at 90 Pacifica at the DoubleTree by Hilton Irvine Spectrum this past Fall 2013, and has been taking the kitchen to the menu by storm! Olvera's extensive background (you may also have recognized her from season 17 of the Food Network show, 'Chopped') and infusion of Asian and Hawaiian influences sure makes for fun and tasty dishes. She is revolutionizing the standard hotel menu, and you won't want to miss out on her Irvine Restaurant Week Lunch and Dinner offerings at 90 Pacifica! You can go shopping at the Irvine Spectrum, then drop into 90 Pacifica for a bite! 



Lunch & Dinner dishes shown above (left to right):

Vine Ripened Tomato & Herb Buratta Salad

Double 'Apple' Tree Salad

Wok Fired Stir Fry

Grilled Flat Iron Steak

Pan Seared Salmon

Lemon Creme Brulee

Guests choose 1 Starter Soup or Salad, 1 Entree, and enjoy the Lemon Creme Brulee for dessert. 

Lunch or Dinner (same menu) $32 Per Person

The most stand out dishes for me was the Vine Ripened Tomato & Herb Buratta Salad and Wok Fired Stir Fry. I had never tasted buratta and I was hooked on the first bite of this mozzarella and cream confection. The stir fry was by far the best stir fry I had ever experienced, I actually wanted to eat everything down to the onions and bell peppers (I usually leave the veggies out of consumption); and it was served over the perfect amount of rice. 

90 Pacifica  Restaurant & Wine Bar

90 Pacifica, Irvine, California, 92618
Phone: 1-949-471-8888

Parking: Complimentary Day Parking (regular lot)

Hours: Monday- Sunday 6am-10pm

Facebook:      DoubleTree by Hilton Irvine Spectrum                            90 Pacifica


Aura Bar & Grill at the Hilton Irvine Orange County Airportaurafront

This gem of a restaurant, Aura Bar & Grill is located in the Hilton Irvine Orange County Airport; across the street from our beloved John Wayne Airport. Aura also offers an open and communal dining environment for the perfect dining experience for a date night, family or friend dinner, or to wind down and hang out all in the same restaurant. Some nights, it gets quite busy, so make a reservation to ensure a table! Make an event out of Irvine Restaurant Week and come to Aura for an unforgettable dinner of sophisticated plates and intriguing flavors created by Executive Chef Paul Hernandez. 



Dinner dishes shown above (left to right):

Seared Sea Scallops

Dungeness Crab Cake

Bone-in Pork Chop

Pan Seared Sea Bass

Mango Raspberry Napoleon

Triple Chocolate Mousse

White Chocolate Lemon Bombe

Guests choose  1 Appetizer, 1 Soup, 1 Entree, and 1 Dessert, paired with 1 glass of wine from Aura's Wine List!

Dinner Menu $40 Per Person

My favorite dishes were the scallops (oh so perfectly seared), the crab cake (which I usually am not a fan of in general, but this crab cake was made from actual dungeness crab, not imitation and perfectly balanced in crunch and moisture contrasted by the buttery consistency and slight spiciness from the avocado and sriracha sauce as well as the sharp, salty, and citrus taste of the creamy caper aioli sauce), and the Pan Seared Sea Bass (also perfectly seared, the braised leeks were easy to eat, and everything was tied together by the smoky flavor and melted texture of Gouda au gratin potatoes). Are you hungry yet? Don't forget about dessert! The Mango Raspberry Napoleon was my fave because I'm a sucker for anything raspberry, which was great with the mango and moist cake). The Triple Chocolate Mousse is layer after layer of not too rich sweetness, balanced by a bed of oreo crunch. At first glance, the White Chocolate lemon bombe can be intimidating, but it is the loveliest culmination of zest and sweet flavors wrapped in a just creamy enough custard and chocolate shell. Thank you Chef Paul and Hotel Manager Regina for instantly welcoming me from the moment I walked through the hotel doors!

Aura Bar & Grill at the Hilton Irvine Orange County Airport

18800 MacArthur Blvd., Irvine, California, 92612
Phone: 1-949-833-9999

Hours: Monday-Sunday 6:30am-11pm

Parking: Self Parking Lot (by ticket dispenser) or Valet with 3 hour Free-Parking Validation from Aura Bar & Grill. 

Facebook: Hilton Irvine Orange County Airport                                         Aura Bar & Grill


If you haven't gotten a chance to dine at hotel restaurants in our area, here's your chance by taking advantaging of the carefully curated and exciting Irvine Restaurant Week Menus!

Check out other participating IRW restaurants here, and leave a comment if you experience dining at Irvine hotel restaurants!


Amanda |

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36 Executive Park, Suite 100 · Irvine, CA 92614
Phone: 949-660-9112
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